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+3 votes
I don't really believe this theory...
by (180 points)

3 Answers

+7 votes
There has been a strong connection going back all the way to punk's origins. In my reading of history "classic anarchism" mostly died out by the 1930's-40's and it wasn't until the mid-70's with the beginnings of punk and the interconnected tendencies of antifacist action, autonomism, squatting, veganism, straight-edge and so on that anarchism as a living "movement" was reborn. Thus contemporary anarchist culture is highly punk-influenced, even though there are plenty of anarchists that don't listen to punk music or otherwise identify with punk. But the connection abides. A recent example: late last year the abuse of a bunch of punks in Indonesia by sharia police led to solidarity actions by anarchists in Russia, Turkey and elsewhere.

Many punk bands are very explicit about being anarchist, such as Crass. Others use "anarchy" in a more general sense of the term (see Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK"). Generally, those that gravitated toward punk were instinctually anti-authoritarian, before discovering the formal theoretical anti-authoritarianism of anarchism. Even suburban skater kids that don't know about the principles of anarchism can be found tagging the circle-A, thanks to punk.

Punk's DIY approach complements the anarchist notions that we don't need people telling us what to do. Thus, many horizontal, self-organized projects such as infoshops, zine-making, Food Not Bombs and Really Really Free Market have roots in the anarcho-punk movement.

by (6.1k points)
edited by
Since your analysis tends to exagerate punk connection to anarchism I am going to remind people that anarchism was influential in post war anti-nuclear movements mainly in the form of anarcho-pacifism. Also the non-violent resistance tactics of anarchopacifism also had a strong impact in civil rights movements in the US mainly through the influence of Gandhism and as we known Gandhi called himself an anarchist and Gandhism was a main influence in anarcho-pacifism alongside Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau. In the sixties feminism and queer activism also started to gain importance as well as anticolonial struggles and so the hippie counterculture was born in the midst of all this and absorbed all this and this explains why hippies are a radical conterculture with strongly anarchistic sections such as the San Francisco Diggers and Abbie Hoffman´s yippies. So by the time the seventies came anarchism was already a part of radical culture and also because the New Left looked for revolutionary alternatives to stalinism, anarchism took an influential role. Punk might have given this a reaffirmation but it should not be put like "punk brought back anarchism to life" or something like that.
0 votes
I am a hippie anarchist. Punks say they hate hippies and I have heard of many of the most idiotic and violent punks who have transformed into fascist skinheads.

Also I am an anarchist who really doesn´t listen too much punk rock but who is actually into space rock, avant garde jazz, afro latin american rhythms and psy-trance.
by (3.3k points)
I was kind of wondering when i wrote my response if punk was a direct reaction to hippie. I've certainly heard several punks over the years express anti-hippie sentiments. The aesthetics and "vibe" of the two differ pretty markedly, tho one might also draw some parallels.
Nah, it wasn't a direct reaction to hippie... it bridged off of a lot of influences, some hippie... some mod, hard mod/skinhead, etc. Richard Hell, Pattie Smith, Alan Vega, Kings Mob, Penny Rimbaud, David Bowie, Nico and the Velvet Underground, Television (Tom Verlaine sp), Cock Sparrer, Sham 69, etc. Hippie itself wasn't all peacenick - the Stones, the Who, etc. A lot of the anti-Hippie sentiment comes in through skinhead hooliganism and a generational rebellion based on seeing Hippie as a failure to remain anti-Establishment. The aesthetic was very much the influence of Malcom Mclaren (post-situ, Kings Mob, owned Sex, produced the Sex Pistols) but also the hard style of skinhead later.

As far as anarchism and punk goes, I think the first answer was pretty good. But, anarcho-punk really came into its own consciousness as a reaction to punk becoming commodified and trendy - exemplified by Crass's "Punk is Dead". So a classic sort of clash of ethics in punk has been this sort of chaotic, bohemian, individualistic, nihilistic sensibility and a revolutionary critique of the status quo that looked beyond the cultural absurdities to a more systematic concept of what punk was for and against.

A lot of punks do become skinheads and vice versa, less often racist skinheads (though likely sexist and homophobic). But the hippies weren't innocent at all of sexism, racism, homophobia either. Punk was often considered queer by skinheads and the status quo... but Goth probably achieved more acceptance of sexual differences than Punk did (although on the other hand, hardly 'politically' minded).

Still, the popularization of anarchism through punk music did spread anarchism around the world to rebellious youth... mostly as a critique of society and not a revolutionary praxis. Anarcho-punk is a very self-conscious critique of both punk and society... especially the critique of "punk" as reducible to an aesthetic "fashion punks". Anyway, what punk and anarchism have in common is a sometimes idealistic no-surrender (black flag) rebellious orientation towards established norms, social institutions, and prescribed lifestyles.
+6 votes
This answer seeks to build off of both Enkidu and Iconoclast's, there will be repetition here, and I just wanted to say that upfront.

For many younger people from Western Europe and North America the punk scene was their first introduction to ideas such as anarchism, thanks, in no small part, to the likes of the early UK anarcho-punk bands such as Crass having taken seriously the Sex Pistol's calls for "anarchy." Strangely enough, some of the members of Crass were former hippies, who were already familiar with libertarian thinking thanks to their experiences throughout the 1960's.

Punk was a reaction to the conditions of the 1970's, recession, widespread unemployment, and, probably most importantly, a rock and roll pantheon that had become increasingly disconnected from audiences. In many ways, it was a rebellion against the peace and love ethos that had failed in the '60's, but at the same time was carrying on the rejection of mainstream culture. Punk helped revitalize the british anti-nuke movement, and more recently can be pretty much directly blamed for the very existence of crimethinc (I don't mean that as anti-crimethinc, necessarily).

As far as an actual connection to anarchism, many punks are anarchists, and many anarchists like punk music - it can be irreverent, challenge authority, and encourages a DIY mentality and informal networks and mutual aid between small touring bands, promoters, and zines. However, punk (and I definitiely came to anarchism by way of punk, and still like punk) is not and should not be synonymous with anarchism. At it's worst, punk is about consumerism (beer, drugs, records) and spectacle (outfits, hairdon'ts, shows), while lacking real substance. Most punks I know feel contented to buy records or write songs railing against the system, often with little analysis of their role within the system, and often to the exclusion of any meaningful confrontation of power itself. Punk can often be sexist, homophobic, and exclusive (then again, so can anarchist circles). Punk can be Oi Polloi or The Ex, or it can be Green Day and The Exploited.

In the end, punk can be a platform for spreading ideas and propaganda, but it should not be the only platform, or even the most important one.
by (22.1k points)
shit, should have read yours first.
I have heard there are nazi punks in places like Chile and there were nazi punks in the late seventies britain linked to the National front (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_punk). ¿Has anyone heard of Hippie nazis? of course not.

On the other hand i have grown tired of hearing the almost cliche and poorly thought out affirmation that in this case has presented itself in this way. "it was a rebellion against the peace and love ethos that had failed in the '60's,". ¿How exacly was the hippie rebellion a failure? it influenced many societal trends afterwards such as the environemtalist movement and the sexual revolution as well as having a pioneering role in most recent countercultural trends such as zines, squatting, social centers and the like. ¿Was punk a success then? it seems to me punk "succeded" as much as the hippies did and failed just as much.